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Friday, September 14, 2007

My favorite late September dessert


This is such a homely thing (in both senses of the word), but when Italian prune plums are in the market -- and they're in season right now for about a blink -- I only want prune plum kuchen. There's not much batter on the bottom, the plums sink into it, and the topping is a faint sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon.

My mother and my husband and I began with this small confection one evening after dinner recently, each ate ample squares, and then with a little knife, just kept cutting off an inch here and an inch there. You know how it is. At midnight last night, when it was time to go upstairs, the rest of the kuchen was sitting on the counter beckoning us over. So we obliged!

Prune plum kuchen
Makes one 8-inch square

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 prune plums, quartered and pitted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan and dust the pan with flour.
2. In a bowl with a wooden spoon, beat the butter until soft. Add the granulated sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs, one by one, then beat in the oil, lemon rind and juice, and vanilla.
3. Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Pour the batter into the pan.
4. Arrange the plum quarters in 4 rows on the batter, cut sides up, setting them as close as possible.
5. In a small bowl with your fingers, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the plums and batter.
6. Bake the kuchen for 40 to 45 minutes or until the batter at the sides is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and cut into squares. Adapted from "The Way We Cook"

Posted by Sheryl Julian at 01:40 PM
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